Saturday, May 19, 2012

Upcycled Men's Shirt #12

This remix of a recycled standard man's shirt involves a trip to the tropics. This is a project in two stages, the first of which is detailed here. In anticipation of a voyage to Costa Rican cloud and rain forests, I wanted to create cool, airy apparel suitable for warm temperatures and high humidity.

Here is the finished product.

Shirt front (click image to enlarge)

Shirt back

The project involved a used, one dollar shirt from my corner thrift store made of light, white, 100% cotton. The first step (one I use regularly in upcycling men's shirts) is to remove the collar, picking away the stitching that holds the collar in place. The neckband is then restitched. Sleeves were cut off so they hang just below the elbow. Note the assymetrical front, with right side shorter than the left. The right side of the front, as well as the back, were cut shorter to eliminate a few inches, including the bottom back curve and the balloon effect that men's shirts often create at the bottom. The left front was left as-is for visual interest.For this shirt I did something I seldom do in upcycling—I purchased a half-yard of new white cotton eyelet material.

Eyelet material replacing shirt yoke

Eyelet yoke

Eyelet yoke
For this step I carefully cut away the existing shirt yoke, staying about 1/4 inch inside the existing stitching at neck, shoulders, and back. I then used the cut-away piece as a pattern to cut out a new yoke from the eyelet material, adding about a 5/8 inch seam allowance. I turned the seam allowance under about 3/8 of an inch all the way around, pinned it to the shirt, and stitched it down.

Because I know just how hot and humid it can get, I also wanted the shirt to be very loose fitting and even more airy, so I started cutting at the side seams of the shirt and continued the cut right through the seam on the underside of the sleeve.

Side/sleeve vents of eyelet material
Using a section of eyelet material about 3 inches wide, I created a long panel which was then stitched to the shirt to create a vent that runs in a continuous line from the sides right up under the armpit and out to the sleeve end.

Additional lower front pocket

Some of the left-over material from a cut-off sleeve was used to create an additional pocket. One can never, ever have enough pockets. 

As noted, this is just stage one of a two stage project. Stay tuned for the second half.

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